Renée Metcalf

Barbara Levin

Renée Metcalf, Senior Vice President and Illinois Market Executive for Global Commercial Banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, recently joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association Board of Trustees. Bank of America is the Global Sponsor of the CSO; a very significant partnership in the history of the CSOA.

What inspires your love of music? How does music fit into and enrich your daily life?
When I was young, I was convinced that I would grow up to be a famous singer, à la Olivia Newton John! Although I was not classically trained, I appreciated the rigorous process of what it takes to be a musician: the memorization, practice, and preparation for performance. As a young adult, I starting attending concerts at the Cleveland Orchestra, and then later, the Kansas City Symphony, and I fell in love with classical music. I really do love music of all genres. I listen to music almost every day, and when I’m at home, I will always choose to listen to music over watching TV.

As a new member of the CSOA Board of Trustees, how has your experience been so far, and what has been your favorite musical experience?
My experience has been terrific. I am most impressed by the level of professionalism demonstrated by my fellow CSOA Trustees; each member conducts themselves with a sense of deep responsibility to an orchestra that is a great cultural treasure. It is clear that the board loves this orchestra and is committed to supporting the CSOA. Recently, I attended the CSO concert that featured the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Low Brass Concerto. It was amazing! It is a really special thing to have an orchestra performing and presenting innovative contemporary music.

As an executive at Bank of America, and a CSOA trustee, can you speak to the importance of the “Global Sponsorship”?
Bank of America’s partnership with the CSO represents an absolute connection to the community, and our commitment to the arts. The CSOA is a gem—a great cultural asset in the city of Chicago. By making this investment, we demonstrate our commitment to the arts and its ability to connect people across cultures. It’s a huge benefit to the CSOA, and the musicians, but it also helps to enrich the human experience of everyone that is touched by this music—not just in Chicago, but around the country and the world—bringing beauty to millions of people.
Why do you think it is important for the corporate sector to support the arts?
Corporations are made up of diverse people with diverse interests. I think it’s important that a corporation invest in the things that their clients, customers, and employees care about. When a company pays attention and responds by investing thoughtfully in the community, everybody benefits. Individuals can be incredibly philanthropic. Corporations can bring a new level of sustainability in their support of the arts. In doing so, companies use their resources to elevate the arts for the benefit of everyone and send a great message about their commitment to the community.

What are you most looking forward to next season?
I’m excited for the early October program next season with Maestro Muti conducting Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto and Brahms’s Hungarian Dances. Outside of the classical repertoire, there’s lots to choose from, such as the CSO at the Movies Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert. There’s truly something for everyone. The CSOA does an amazing job of offering a broad range of programs that appeal to a wide audience, reaching across communities and sharing the joy of music.